Change for the bet­ter

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE Hyundai i45 drives a lot bet­ter for 2011. It’s the same for the ix35. The South Korean cou­ple are still not in the sports-car class, but a pre­view drive wrapped around the open­ing of the Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show high­lights the changes made to Hyundai’s new he­roes.

The i45 now has a smoother, cushier ride and much im­proved straight-line sta­bil­ity and the ix35 feels more in touch with the road, in­stead of wob­bling around over bro­ken sur­faces.

It’s taken less than six months to get the cars tweaked for Aus­tralia, which shows a re­mark­able com­mit­ment to Aus­tralian cus­tomers. Then again if it was so easy we have to ask why the sus­pen­sion work wasn’t done in the first place? The an­swer is pretty sim­ple: the top peo­ple at Hyundai didn’t know what they didn’t know.

The de­ci­sion mak­ers thought the i45 and ix35 were just fine for Aus­tralians and Aus­tralian roads, and only re­alised they had made a mis­take when the cars­Guide crew— and some other ex­pe­ri­enced road testers in­clud­ing for­mer Wheels edi­tor Peter Robin­son— be­gan to com­plain. Hyundai re­acted quickly to the com­plaints and the changes were also ac­cel­er­ated when Kia, which has an ix35 twin called the Sportage, turned out a much bet­ter SUV drive thanks to lo­cal sus­pen­sion work by Graeme Gam­bold.

The work has all gone into sim­ple things like springs, shock ab­sorbers and anti-roll bars— though the costlier Am­pli­tude Se­lec­tive Dampers are also fit­ted across the i45 line— which proves Hyundai was close in the first place.

Now the job is done and Hyundai has changed for­ever in Aus­tralia. It’s an im­por­tant switch and one which will make things even tougher for its op­po­si­tion.

Paul Gover Na­tional edi­tor

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